Six New Sample Sales Have Just Been Added This Week's Schedule

It's the time of year when they pile it on, so we wanted to let everyone know that they can add a whopping SIX new late-breaking Sample Sales to their calendars starting today. Here's a brief roundup. See the details  in our SALE ROLL sidebar at left.

J.PRESS YORK STREET/ICB This one slipped under everyone's radar and began yesterday in SoHo. Up to 90% Off is promised on samples from ICB as well as back season stock from the J.Press York Street menswear line. A smattering of other labels are included but the bulk of the merchandise id from ICB and York Street. Through Friday.

OXO A seasonal cult favorite for fans of well designed household gadgets  is promising more than 850 items at deep discounts. Bring your own bag to the Starrett-Lehigh Building through Friday.

WANT Agency A showroom sale featuring insider favorite names like WANT LES ESSENTIELS de la VIEMAISON KITSUNE, SWIMS and TOMORROWLANDStarting today, find savings on mostly samples on these labels through the weekend.

WOOLRICH From Friday to Sunday on two consecutive weekends the WP Lavori showroom will open with discounts on outerwear and sportswear from the American heritage brand along with SPIEWAK, BARACUTA & BD BAGGIES.

ARMANI Soiffer Haskin will be offering every collection from the Italian mega-brand including GIORGIO ARMANI, EMPORIO ARMANI, ARMANI COLLEZIONI & ARMANI JEANS starting on Friday through Wednesday.

GANT The ever more popular preppy brand will be launching its sale on Sunday the 15th at 260SampleSale's winter location at 43 Wooster Street. We aren't sure if it will be strictly samples or a full size range from the warehouse, but the sale is scheduled for a solid seven day run through next Saturday, so count on an abundance of goods.


Late Additions From VPL, Showroom Seven & Giorgio Armani Add To This Week's Dizzying Sale Schedule

The November Sample Sale Schedule continues to expand exponentially. Here are a few notable ones that are running this week that you may want to check out. Make sure to keep an eye on our chronologically ordered SALE ROLL at left for details and more late additions. 

REBECCA MINKOFF started Monday the 11th and runs through Saturday at 260 Fifth Avenue. Early reports indicate lots of goods in all categories for the designer's legions of fans.

THAKOON the FLOTUS fave started yesterday the 12th and promises samples and stock running through Friday the 15th.

TRACY REESE, another FLOTUS approved label kicks off a two-day sale today the 13th.

HELMUT LANG is running dual sales in Chelsea Market and at Clothingline in the Garment District through Friday. Both sales are said to offer lots, but the Chelsea one has the shes & accessories, according to reports. Next week, parent company Theory repeats the feat.

MANOLO BLAHNIK's legendary sale starting today the 13th at the Warwick Hotel has now been reported to be by invitation only on both days, apparently due to last season's excessive ruckus. "Invitation", however, can be a relative term in the Sample Sale world, so you may want to try your luck anyway.

VPL, the lingerie turned sportswear brand from Victoria Bartlett kicks off a late-breaking sale today in SoHo.

SHOWROOM SEVEN, offers yet another long-term multi-brand sale already running through mid-December for those willing to venture out to West Chelsea.

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, one of Britain's greatest designers kicks of a five-day sale today the 13th through the weekend covering all of her various labels.

GIORGIO ARMANI promises an immense sale featuring four different labels for both men and women at Soiffer Haskin starting on Saturday.

One more reminder about the STEVEN ALAN sale: He has brought back the walk-in sale starting tomorrow the 14th in Tribeca after experimenting with oline-only versions. The web sale is still happening as well, however, and it begins earlier —today the 13th at noon— so it may still be worth it to skip what has traditionally been an epic queue on the street for some comfortable home sale shopping.


More Expansion In Store
For Giorgio Armani On Madison Avenue As His Boutique Re-Opens

ArmaniMadisonWWD-Steven Sullivan01

Giorgio Armani unveils a revamped, updated Madison Avenue home this week (pictured at right), but the real news for New York shoppers will be the return of Emporio Armani to Madison as well as the first Armani Junior children's store in North America all the way up at 88th and Madison. It will be well out of the way of the shopping street's most glamorous boutiques, but perfectly placed closer to Carnegie Hill's cluster of luxury children's boutiques.

Emporio Armani will re-appear on Madison Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets in a former home that had been converted to a unique Armani Collezioni store when the huge Armani 5th Avenue brand palace opened couple of years ago. Most recently, it had served as a temporary store for the main collection during renovations on the original boutique at the corner of 65th Street. While the Collezioni line will presumably remain as a label aimed at wide distribution at department stores line Saks and Neiman Marcus, WWD reports that Giorgio Armani's newly aggressive expansion will focus on the main collection and Emporio. Twelve new stores are expected to open in North America this year including three stores for the main collection, eleven Emporio units and the aforementioned junior store. Reportedly, Armani volume dipped after the turn of the century, but is currently on the rebound.

While the big brand palace on Fifth Avenue seems to be meeting its mission of delighting tourists, Armani is now turning its focus back to where rich New Yorkers really shop: Madison Avenue. Expect the new Emporio and Junior stores to be open in late Spring or early Summer

Armani Plots Aggressive Expansion in North America (WWD)


New Photos Surface of
Cristiano Ronaldo for Armani


The Shophound is still on a reduced schedule for a few days, but it would be wrong of us not to pass along these nice photos of Soccer Star Cristiano Ronaldo that the fine folks at Giorgio Armani have kindly sent to us. It would be selfish to hog them. The shots are from the Fall/Winter 2010-11 Armani Jeans and Emporio Armani Underwear campaigns and have been released just in time for maximum World Cup publicity. It's good to see that he is still taking care of himself. Don't forget to click the images for a full-sized view.


Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Church Of Armani Edition

ArticleLarge This week's Thursday Styles finds Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson in a more reverent frame of mind than we have seen thus far. Our shopper has been nearly hushed into submission by the Armani|5th Avenue brand palace that opened earlier this year. Leading with a Wiliam Faulkner quote (!), she puts aside her shopping gadfly persona, recounting the history of Giorgio Armani as if transformed into an adoring acolyte —until she wasn't anymore,
Armani Casa occupies a corner of the second floor. These are unaffordable housewares in black lacquer, leather and chrome, all of which belong in Mickey Rourke’s apartment in “9 1/2 Weeks.” In that spirit, I hovered around an Art Deco tea set (teapot $1,395; creamer, $910) with the intention of beating up anyone capable of buying it.
And she's back.
La Cintra is mostly piqued about the elusive price tags on the more expensive items which would prompt the cruel, old adage, "If you you have to ask how much it costs, then you can't afford it." Of course, that discovery can't be much of a surprise chez Armani.
Ultimately, she is taken, or at least amused by, the monumental quality of the place,
Armani|5th Avenue will likely survive as long as Fifth Avenue does. Like the Pyramids, it was built as an indelible valentine to the invisible worlds ahead.

But is it destined, like the pyramids, to one day become a symbol of a mysterious culture now extinct? More importantly, is it merely a coincidence that the article will run on the very day that every label in the store will be available at a sample sale in Chelsea?
Stranger things have been known to happen.
Critical Shopper | Armani|5th Avenue: Indulging His Every Indulgence By Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Armani|5th Avenue 717 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street, Midtown
Giorgio Armani Sample Sale November 19th - 21st, Metropolitan Pavilion 123 West 18th Street, 4th Floor Gallery, Chelsea

Today In Underpants:

Armani Switches Footballers
Beckham Out. Ronaldo In.

Giorgio Armani has a new sports icon to plaster all over town.
Ronaldo Portuguese football star and international heartthrob Christiano Ronaldo (right) has been named the new "official worldwide testimonial" for Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans. We assume this means he will be appearing in his underpants on billboards all over the world starting early next year. He replaces David Beckham who declined to renew his contract with the designer. So far no new images have been released, so we have to rerun these old Beckham pictures. We know it pains you to have to look at them again, but as soon as we have the fresh media we promise to get it out to you as soon as possible. Beckham is said to be pursuing an underwear deal of his own, so you can still expect to see him in him in his skivvies for years to come.
Basically it's a win-win.
Fashion Scoops: Beckham Said Seeking Underwear Deal (WWD) & Shophound Inbox

Diffusion Du Jour:

Saks Scores An Armani Exclusive

Few designers are as skillful at managing multiple collections at varying price points as Giorgio Armani. Ever since his premier diffusion line Emporio Armani was made available here during the 1980s, it has been one of the most sparingly distributed, sold only at Emporio Armani stores of which there are still only fourteen in the United States. Now that the label's licensed accessories have been distributed more widely, and the Beckhams have drawn huge awareness to the brand's underwear, the fine people at Armani have kindly informed us that Saks Fifth Avenue will now be the first retailer to launch the main Emporio Armani men's collection in seven stores starting around now. Those locations will include Fifth Avenue, Birmingham, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tyson's Corner Virginia outside of Washington DC. This is the sort of introduction that, in our humble observation, typically leads to a storewide rollout if successful, and could possibly push a similar expansion of the ladies' line.
The thought crossed our mind that this may be some consolation for the fact that, due to tight distribution and exclusivity conflicts, Saks has few (if any) stores that are permitted to sell the top Giorgio Armani Collection for men, though the women's counterpart is sold in several of it's branches including New York. Perhaps the folks at Armani are mollifying the folks at Saks, who have surely been anxious to add the top line for quite some time now. They may ultimately be better off with an even more exclusive label at gentler, far more appealing prices. We'll call it a coup.
Emporio Armani (Official Site)

Today In Switcheroos:

Emporio Armani Madison
Avenue Converts To Collezioni

We were mistaken yesterday when we wrote that the new Armani brand palace on Fifth Avenue duplicated  his offerings nearby on Madison Avenue. In fact the uptown Emporio Armani shop has been converted to be a flagship for Armani Collezioni, the line once known as "white label" which is distributed primarily to department stores with locations deemed not quite exclusive enough for the main Giorgio Armani collection. It, like A|X, is not sold in the new superstore. So far as we know there are very few of these, all of them overseas, making this the first one in the US. This leaves the SoHo location as the only one solely devoted to Emporio in New York. At the moment, that would seem to be enough.
Armani Collezioni 601 Madison Avenue between 57th & 58th Streets, Midtown

Megastore Debut:

Armani/5th Avenue

Through an odd coincidence, The Shophound found ourselves without any fashion show invitations on Wendesday. While this could have been a disturbing development, we were actually kind of relieved. We could have just gone to the tents and seen a few shows with extra standing room, or watched them on the mentors, but we were relishing the day off. While the temptation to simply remain in bed was strong, we eventually picked ourselves up and made our way to Giorgio Armani's newly opened Armani/5th Avenue superstore that just opened with a glittery launch party this week.
What do we call this amalgam of the designer's various lines? Is it a flagship? Doesn't each brand have its own multi-level flagship on Madison Avenue? This is a sort of Armani Mega-center. With four floors, the store covers only the designer's core labels. Mall focused stepchild A|X Armani Exchange is a joint venture, though Armani has recently increased his stake, and Armani Collezioni is a first cousin who lives only in department stores.
Armanistaircase The clear centerpiece here is a swooping staircase that connects each level. While the previous inhabitant, Hugo Boss, created an airy, open interior, Armani uses the staircase to make a swirling tunnel from which shoppers can emerge at their chosen department. Covered in white, the installation will be a challenge to clean and maintain. Dark scuff marks were already visible near the floor, and we can imagine some hapless char person tasked with scrubbing the stairs every evening after hours.
Starting at the top we have men's clothing and shoe lines with the main Giorgio Armani label side by side with Emporio, the still pricey "diffusion" brand. Up here we also found a chocolate counter named Armani Dolci, the home collection, Armani Casa (whose presence was minimal) and the Armani Ristorante featuring an expansive view of Fifth Avenue. We began to wonder if the restroom had a sign over the door reading Armani Toilette. One flight down, we found the women's apparel lines along with a cosmetics counter. The street level features the high margin goods including a wall of sunglasses and watches and cases of accessories, mirroring the merchandising concepts of the Gucci megastore a few blocks uptown. Downstairs is relegated to Armani Jeans, Emporio underwear, swimwear and a small presentation of the EA7 active sportswear brand.
It's a lavish presentation, and it goes without saying that eighteen months ago it must have looked like a fabulous idea to replicate the megastore concept that Armani had implemented in other major international cities. There's no accounting for timing these days, but we couldn't help noticing that both the main collection and Emporio were already available with a much better selection in their own large boutiques only blocks away. This is the kind of sumptuous, promotional brand statement that luxury labels have begun to question in the past year. The question here is not whether Giorgio Armani could make a big, fabulous store. That was already a foregone conclusion. At issue is whether or not he can do it profitably in this climate, which remains to be seen.
Armani/5th Avenue Fifth Avenue at 56th Street, Midtown

Today In Alter Egos:

Giorgio Armani Joins
The Bat Brigade

Apparently, Bruce Wayne wears Giorgio Armani Hand Made To Measure, at least that's what Madison Avenue's Armani boutique is telling us.
Ordinarily, we would have thought that the designer would have kept his top collections free of Summer blockbuster cross promotional activities, but then again, Mr. Armani knows firsthand just how effective creating a film wardrobe can be in promoting a brand. Hell, Richard Gere practically launched the label by wearing it in American Gigolo.
This time, however, Armani is explicitly using billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, not Christian Bale, the actor who portrays him, as his celebrity spokesperson. It may be the first time the designer has tapped a fictional character for such duties. Somehow, we suspect that had Armani recruited Bale himself as a spokesperson, the actor might have made a lot more money out of the deal, but we think he is probably doing OK anyway. The free Armani clothes he must be getting are probably worth it by themselves.
This effort, of course, puts Giorgio Armani in unusual company on the roster of companies participating in The Dark Knight's promotion, which includes Nokia, Hershey, Comcast, Microsoft XBox, Domino's Pizza and the California Milk Processor Board.
It's always nice to make new friends.
Oh, and not to gloat, but we're supposed to see the movie tonight. In IMAX.
Previously: Today In Superheroes: Nokia Goes Batty